Xfinity’s ‘Fastest’ Internet, In-Home Wi-Fi
August 9th, 2016
UPDATE 2/9/17: The National Advertising Review Board has upheld NAD’s decision that Comcast discontinue claims that Xfinity delivers the fastest internet and in-home Wi-Fi. Comcast agreed to comply. Our original ad alert follows.
Comcast is appealing a NAD decision handed down Tuesday that said the company should discontinue claims that its Internet service provider, Xfinity, delivers “the fastest Internet in America” (see ad featuring clips of cute, furry animals above) and the “fastest, most reliable in-home WiFi.” NAD, which looked into the statements after rival Verizon complained, found that Comcast lacked sufficient supporting evidence to back up the claims.
To substantiate its “fastest Internet” claim, for example, Comcast pointed to crowdsourced data on download and upload speeds as tested by consumers on an app called Speedtest.net and how Ookla, the app’s developer and collector of the data, had named Xfinity the “fastest Internet in America.” But NAD took issue with Ookla’s methodology for determining a winner:
…instead of relying on an aggregation of crowdsourced data on download and upload speeds, Ookla based its award on the top 10 percent of each ISP’s Speedtest download results.
And in regard to the “fastest in-home WiFi” claim, NAD said that could be interpreted to mean that Xfinity offers the “fastest available wireless access to the Internet,” a message that, the self-regulatory body said, Comcast could not support.
NAD noted that the claims appear in both print and broadcast. Comcast’s appeal goes to the National Advertising Review Board.
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The National Advertising Division, or NAD, is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. NAD asks advertisers to substantiate or change their claims in advertisements. As part of a voluntary system of self-regulation, however, its recommendations can be ignored by the offending advertisers. In those instances, NAD refers the offender to federal consumer protection agencies.